Eye on Iran: Iranian Drone Launched from Syria was Armed, Israel Says

TOP STORIES

Iranian Drone Launched from Syria was Armed, Israel Says | New York Times

A drone that took off from Syria and penetrated Israeli airspace in February was armed and on an Iranian mission to carry out an attack in Israeli territory, the Israeli military said Friday.

Blast Rocks Syria Area Hosting Iran-Backed Fighters | Radio Farda

An explosion rocked an area in northern Syria Saturday near a base where pro-regime Iranian fighters and allied Shiite militias have been stationed, a monitor said. The origin of the blast was not immediately clear and could have been caused by an air strike or an incident at an ammunition depot, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Iran Warns of 'Regional Consequences' of Syria Strikes | Agence France-Presse

Iran warned of "regional consequences" on Saturday following a wave of punitive strikes in Syria by the United States, Britain and France.

UANI IN THE NEWS

Middle East Expert and Washington County Native Speaks at Washington & Jefferson | Observer-Reporter

Thirty-four years ago, CIA veteran [and UANI Senior Advisor] Norman Roule… an expert on the Middle East and a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, returned to his alma mater to deliver an address, “The Middle East in 2018: Iran and the Region.”

NUCLEAR DEAL

Future of Iran Deal May Depend on European Intervention | Associated Press

The future of the landmark Iran nuclear deal hangs in the balance and its survival may depend on the unlikely success of last-minute European interventions with President Donald Trump.

Tactical Issues Surrounding a U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement | Patrick Clawson for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

This report… outlines the options available to the administration should it choose to terminate its cooperation with JCPOA provisions, and the technical, legal, and administrative considerations related to reimplementation of sanctions.

CONGRESS & IRAN

Kaine Rips Syria Strikes: What's Stopping Trump from Bombing Iran, North Korea Next? | Hill

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Friday tore into President Trump’s authorization of military strikes in Syria, calling them “illegal” and “reckless” and questioning what’s to stop him from bombing Iran and North Korea.

SYRIA, RUSSIA, HEZBOLLAH, ISRAEL & IRAN

President Trump Talked Tough. But His Strike on Syria Was Restrained | New York Times

In sending missiles and bombs at Syria, President Trump hit more targets and used more firepower than he did in a similar military strike last year. But in the end, he opted for what was still a restrained operation that was evidently calculated to avoid provoking Syria’s patrons in Russia and Iran into retaliating.

Iran's Supreme Leader Says Western Attack on Syria a Crime | Reuters

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said an attack on Syria by the United States, France and Britain on Saturday was a crime and would not achieve any gains… Iran’s pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani also warned that the U.S.-led missile attack on Syria would lead to further destruction in the Middle East, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Syria, Iran and Hezbollah Slam ‘Barbaric’ Strikes on Chemical Sites | Agence France-Presse

Syria was joined Saturday by its allies Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah in condemning the joint US, French and British strikes on Damascus’ chemical weapons facilities.

EU Warns Syria of Further Sanctions, Calls on Russia, Iran to Act | Reuters

The European Union on Saturday called for Russia and Iran to help stop more chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, warning of fresh economic sanctions.

France Convinced Trump to Stay in Syria ‘For the Long Term,’ says Macron | Agence France-Presse

French President Emmanuel Macron asserted Sunday that Paris had convinced Donald Trump to stay engaged in Syria “for the long-term”, adding that French air strikes did not amount to a declaration of war against the regime of Bashar Assad.

Trump Sent 'Strong Message' to Iran, Russia and Syria with Missile Strikes: White House Spokesperson | ABC News

The missile strikes launched in response to Syria's alleged chemical weapons attack on its own citizens "sent a strong message to Syria, Russia, to Iran," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Iran Said to Allow Russia to Deploy ‘Strategic Aircraft’ in Its Territory | Times of Israel

Amid the potential of military escalation in Syria between the US and Russia, Iran has allowed Moscow to station “strategic aircraft” in its territory, Lebanese television station Al Mayadeen reported Friday.

Trump’s Hit-and-Split Approach to Syria Has Israelis Worried: The U.S. Goes, Iran Stays | Noga Tarnopolsky for the Daily Beast

President Donald Trump may think he’s projecting strength and determination with his tweets and, perhaps soon, some variation on limited strikes against Syria. But concern that the United States of Trump may abandon Israel just as the distance to Iran has shrunk from 1,000 miles to zero has gripped Jerusalem like a fever.

Netanyahu Praises West for Syria Strike, Urges Similar Policy against Iran | Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday praised his counterparts in the United Kingdom and France for joining US President Donald Trump in airstrikes on Syrian military facilities said to be linked to the country’s chemical weapons program. Netanyahu said he had spoken on the phone with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday evening and called for a similar policy to be adopted against Iran’s nuclear program.

Hezbollah Says Israel's Syria Strike Puts It into Fight with Iran | Reuters

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said on Friday that Israel’s targeting of a Syrian air base on Sunday that killed some Iranian Revolutionary Guards forces was a “historic mistake”.

Factbox: Assad's Foreign Backers in Syria's War | Reuters

Russia and Iran’s support have been vital for President Bashar al-Assad’s military in the seven-year Syrian war, far outweighing any support for rebel factions, including from the United States, Turkey and Gulf Arab states.

The Real Next War in Syria: Iran vs. Israel | Thomas Friedman for the New York Times

Israel and Iran… seem to be heading for a High Noon shootout in Syria over Iran’s attempts to turn Syria into a forward air base against Israel, something Israel is vowing to never let happen… In the past few weeks — for the first time ever — Israel and Iran have begun quietly trading blows directly, not through proxies, in Syria. And this quiet phase may be about to end. Israel and Iran are now a hair-trigger away from going to the next level — and if that happens, the U.S. and Russia may find it difficult to stay out.

Turkey Says Not Siding with Anyone on Syria, Policy Different from Iran, Russia, U.S. | Reuters

Turkey does not stand with or against any country on Syria and its policy in the region is different from that of Iran, Russia and the United States, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.

Stay in Syria to Block Iran | F.H. Buckley for the New York Post

The successful allied air strike on chemical-weapons facilities in Syria has given President Trump a victory — but not a mission… What’s missing is a clear idea of our role in the broader conflict, and why we still have 5,000 troops in Syria… So what are our interests in the region? Just one. To oppose Iran.

In Syria, Trump Needs a Strategy to Keep Russia, Assad and Iran Off-balance - and US Involvement to a Minimum | Van Hipp for Fox News

President Trump has sent a message that his “red line” will not be crossed. It was important to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capability and that’s what we did. The big question now is “What is the next step?” It is important that the United States execute a “3 Pronged Strategy” simultaneously designed to drive a wedge between Russia, Assad, and Iran. Let’s keep them busy and off balance, focusing on their own problems, so they have less time for mischief and we can focus on our greatest national security challenge—North Korea.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Activist Detained after Marching from Sweden to Iran for Freedom | Radio Farda

An Iranian resident of Sweden, Kamran Ghaderi, who started his march for Iran’s Freedom about a year ago in Stockholm has been detained after entering his homeland, an unidentified relative told the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Iran Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence For Kurdish Opponent | Radio Farda

A branch of Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a Kurdish citizen, his lawyer said in an exclusive interview with Radio Farda’s Mahtab Vahidi Rad. In a statement on February 5, Amnesty International (AI) said, “Ramin Hossein Panahi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, started a hunger strike on January 27 after he learned that he had been sentenced to death in connection with his membership in the armed Kurdish opposition group Komala.” According to AI, “Panahi’s trial, which took place on January 16, was grossly unfair and lasted less than an hour. His family told Amnesty International that he appeared before the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj with obvious torture marks on his body, but the court failed to order an investigation.”

Iran Frees Teacher Activist After Global Criticism of Arrest | Voice of America

Iran has released a teachers’ rights advocate whose arrest last month on unspecified charges drew criticism from global and Iranian rights activists. The Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported Mohammad Habibi was released from Tehran’s Evin prison on Sunday on a bail of $60,000.

Iran Bans Foreign Social Media Networks in Schools | Agence France-Presse

Iran's ministry of education on Sunday (April 15) banned the use of foreign social media networks in schools, the ILNA news agency reported, amid a push by Tehran to limit the influence of outside online platforms.

SANCTIONS RELIEF

Iran Oil Arrives in Gdansk As Poland Diversifies Supplies | Reuters

Poland’s biggest oil refiner PKN Orlen said on Friday that a shipment of 130,000 tonnes of Iranian crude oil has arrived at the Baltic seaport of Gdansk. Most of the oil refined in Polish refineries comes via pipelines from Russia, but state-run PKN Orlen and Lotos are increasingly buying from other sources, including Iran and the United States.

ECONOMIC NEWS

String 'Em Up: Iranian Cleric Wants Money Changers Executed Amid Currency Crisis | Radio Free Europe | Radio Liberty

A senior hard-line Iranian cleric has called for the execution of "several key money changers" to help end the country's currency crisis.

South Korea's March Iranian Crude Oil Imports Down 39.3 Percent Year-on-Year | Reuters

South Korea’s March crude oil imports from Iran dropped 39.3 percent from a year earlier on slowing demand for Iranian oil, the country’s customs data showed on Sunday.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

Arab League Summit Slams Iran, Chemical Weapons Use In Syria | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A summit of the Arab League has called for an international probe into the "criminal" use of chemical weapons in Syria and condemned what it said was Iran's interference in the affairs of Arab countries.

Saudi Arabia Demands UN to Hold Iran Responsible for Houthi Missile Attacks | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

Saudi Arabia on Friday submitted a request to the UN Security Council demanding to hold Iran responsible for the Houthi missile attacks on its territory.

Saudi Arabia Condemns Iran in Wake of Missile Strikes in Syria | Hill

Saudi Arabia slammed longtime rival Iran on Sunday following western missile strikes on Syria, an ally of Tehran, last week.

Yemen says Iran is Arming Houthis with Drones to Attack Saudi Arabia | National (UAE)

The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia.

CHINA & IRAN

Iran MP Claims China in Talks to Build It Small Nuclear Reactors | Times of Israel

Tehran and Beijing are in talks to have China build several small nuclear power plants in Iran, an Iranian lawmaker said Sunday, amid concerns the Islamic Republic is seeking to build nuclear-powered submarines.